Volume V, Issue 1, 2014
RECOVERING PLATO: A PLATONIC VIRTUE EPISTEMOLOGY (pages 7–31)
ABSTRACT: Recently, there has been a move in contemporary epistemological philosophy toward a virtue epistemology, which sees certain character traits of the rational agent as critical in the acquisition of knowledge. This attempt to introduce virtue into epistemological investigations has, however, relied almost exclusively on an Aristotelian account of virtue. In this paper, I attempt to take a new tack and examine a virtue epistemological account grounded in Platonic thought. Taking seriously the distinction between knowledge and opinion found in the Republic, I then draw upon two virtues, humility and what I call sincerity, to flesh out this account.
EPISTEMIC INTERNALISM, JUSTIFICATION, AND MEMORY (pages 33–62)
ABSTRACT: Epistemic internalism, by stressing the indispensability of the subject’s perspective, strikes many as plausible at first blush. However, many people have tended to reject the position because certain kinds of beliefs have been thought to pose special problems for epistemic internalism. For example, internalists tend to hold that so long as a justifier is available to the subject either immediately or upon introspection, it can serve to justify beliefs. Many have thought it obvious that no such view can be correct, as it has been alleged that internalism cannot account for the possibility of the justification of beliefs stored in memory. My aim in this paper is to offer a response that explains how memory justification is possible in a way that is consistent with epistemic internalism and an awareness condition on justification. Specifically, I will explore the plausibility of various options open to internalists, including both foundationalist and non-foundationalist approaches to the structure of justification. I intend to show that despite other difficult challenges that epistemic internalism might face, memory belief poses no special problems that the resources of internalism cannot adequately address.
CONSCIOUSNESS SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH QUALIA (pages 63–91)
ABSTRACT: The equation of consciousness with qualia, of wakeful awareness with awareness-of-cognitive content (perceptions, conceptions, emotions), while intuitively attractive, and formally referenced as the primary index of consciousness by many philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists, nevertheless has significant difficulties specifying precisely what it is that distinguishes conscious from non-conscious cognition. Moreover, there is a surprisingly robust congruence of evidence to the contrary, supporting the notion that consciousness, as a state of reflexive awareness, is distinct from the content one is aware of, that this awareness/content amalgam is actually the product of an incorporation process of various intermittent, and constantly varying streams of content onto a pre-existing reflexively conscious state which is not reliant on these streams for its constitution as a reflexive state. Consciousness, the evidence strongly indicates, is not qualia, not the awareness of this or that perceptual, conceptual or emotional content, but reflexive, autonoetic awareness as such.
VIRTUE EPISTEMOLOGY, TESTIMONY, AND TRUST (pages 95–102)
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I respond to an objection raised by Duncan Pritchard and Jesper Kallestrup against virtue epistemology. In particular, they argue that the virtue epistemologist must either deny that S knows that p only if S believes that p because of S’s virtuous operation or deny intuitive cases of testimonial knowledge. Their dilemma has roots in the apparent ease by which we obtain testimonial knowledge and, thus, how the virtue epistemologist can explain such knowledge in a way that both preserves testimonial knowledge and grounds it in one’s virtues. I argue that the virtue epistemologist has a way to accomplish both tasks if we take epistemic trust to be an intellectual virtue. I briefly discuss what such trust must look like and then apply it to the dilemma at hand: showing that a key intellectual virtue plausibly operates in cases of testimonial knowledge and/or belief.
PHENOMENAL CONSERVATISM, JUSTIFICATION, AND SELF-DEFEAT (pages 103–110)
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I argue that Phenomenal Conservatism (PC) is not superior to alternative theories of basic propositional justification insofar as those theories that reject PC are self-defeating. I show that self-defeat arguments similar to Michael Huemer’s Self-Defeat Argument for PC can be constructed for other theories of basic propositional justification as well. If this is correct, then there is nothing special about PC in that respect. In other words, if self-defeat arguments can be advanced in support of alternatives to PC, then Huemer’s Self-Defeat argument doesn’t uniquely motivate PC.
Susan Haack, Putting Philosophy to Work. Inquiry and Its Place in Culture. Essays on Science, Religion, Law, Literature, and Life (pages 113–118)